Former Saipan lawmaker Antonio P. Sablan was appointed as the new Legislative Bureau director effective Monday, the organizational session of the 20th Legislature. He will be replacing acting director Antonette R. Vilalgomez, who would go back as the Senate’s senior legal counsel.
His appointment has the unanimous support of both the House and Senate, with House Speaker Rafael S. Demapan (R-Saipan) and Senate President Arnold I. Palacios (R-Saipan) signing the official document naming him to the post.
Sablan just moved to the other side of the building. He was a member of the 19th Legislature where he served as the Ways and Means Committee chairman. He lost his re-election bid, finishing eighth among 11 candidates for the six Precinct 1 slots.
Article 2, Section 17 (a) of the CNMI Constitution states that the presiding officers of the House and Senate would jointly appoint the LB director.
“The leadership of the House and Senate of the 20th Legislature hereby jointly appoint you to be the [Legislative Bureau director] effective Jan. 9, 2017,” said Demapan and Palacios in Sablan’s appointment letter. “We are confident that you will provide equitable services to all members of the Legislature. And we look forward to a concerted and collaborative work with the Legislature.”
Sablan thanked the 20th Legislature’s leadership for choosing him to lead the bureau, which is tasked to provide services to both the House and Senate during every session and committee meetings, and records keeping of all documents related to legislative work.
“I thank the leadership for their support as I assume the Legislative Bureau director post. I am honored for the opportunity they had given me to serve in the capacity to head the bureau,” Sablan told Saipan Tribune yesterday.
Sablan said he would look into some documents in the coming days to see the needs of the bureau. “We have one mission here and that is to provide service and support to all the House and Senate members.”
“I will take the next couple of day in reviewing the bureau’s current situation and status. I’m starting to look at some documents to see what are the needs of our staff,” said Sablan, who added that they would have their first staff meeting tomorrow at 9:30am.
Friday’s meeting would just be a formality since Sablan knows all the staff after working with them in past legislatures. “We’re going to meet all the staff on Friday. Basically it just a formal introduction.”
“I just want them to share some of their immediate concerns and see where we can go from there. We just want to maximize our level of service to all the members of the House and Senate,” Sablan said.
Senate committee heads
Palacios also released last Tuesday the appointment of the chairmen of the nine committees in the Senate.
Senate floor leader Francisco M. Borja (R-Tinian) will head the committees on Resources, Economic Development, and Programs along with the Federal Relations and Independent Agencies, replacing Palacios in the latter.
Senate legislative secretary Sen. Justo S. Quitugua (Ind-Saipan) will remain as chairman of the Education and Youth Affairs Committee while adding Rules and Procedures to his care. Sen. Sixto K. Igisomar (R-Saipan) will stay with the Public Utilities, Transportation, and Communications Committee while also leading the Health and Welfare Committee.
Senate vice president Steve K. Mesngon (R-Rota) is the new Judiciary, Government, and Law chairman, while Tinian Sens. Francisco Q. Cruz and Jude U. Hofschneider will continue to head the committees on Executive Appointments and Government Investigations, and Fiscal Affairs, respectively.